Ceramic Theory and Cultural Process, by Dean E. Arnold
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- ISBN: 9780521272599 | 0521272599
- Cover: Paperback
- Copyright: 6/24/1988
This much-praised book aims to develop a theory of ceramics which will elucidate the complex relationship between ceramics and culture and society. Drawing upon the theoretical perspectives of systems theory, cybernetics and cultural ecology, Dr Arnold develops cross-cultural generalizations to explain the origins and evolution of the craft of pottery making. These processes are organized into a series of feedback mechanisms which limit or stimulate the initial production of pottery and its transition from a part-time to a full-time specialized activity. The author provides extensive ethnographic documentation, taken from a wide-ranging synthesis of the available literature and employing many data from his own fieldwork in Peru, Guatemala and Mexico, to illustrate the existence of these feedback relationships in societies around the world. Each mechanism is viewed, not as a relationship which exists in a few of the world's cultures, but as a universal generalization often based on some unique physical or chemical aspect of the pottery itself. Ceramic theory and cultural process is an innovative approach to the archaeological interpretation of ceramics which significantly extends our understanding of the social, cultural and environmental processes of ceramic production.